Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 1 Of 2

WHEN I STARTED THIS blog years ago my intention was to write 80% about how we were updating our house + garden, then 20% about topics I was researching.  I thought this would be more of a design + information blog, rather than a lifestyle journal-ish blog.

Well, that idea fell apart, didn’t it?

Early on I discovered that:

  1. Even though I’m passionate about design, I don’t like writing about the involved decision-making process that goes on within all decorating +  remodeling projects.  I feel clunky and stressed when I try to write about design.
  2. Even though I enjoy photographing nature and signs and building exteriors, I end up swearing at my camera when I attempt to take pics of inside rooms.  I don’t have an eye for design photography, and my poor camera takes the brunt of my frustration.
  3. Even though I had some fun blog followers who were interested in our ongoing home improvement stories, they, to a one, stopped keeping blogs and drifted away from  the blogosphere.  I now have more wordy followers who groove on topics other than design.

So I had a little sit down chit-chat with myself to reassess what I was doing here, realizing that my most popular fun-to-write blog posts were personal, often about my observations regarding the wack-o-ness of people OR about small glimpses into the ordinariness of my daily life.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing about or photographing what we’re doing around the house.  No one cared, and I didn’t mind not writing about the angsty-ness and minutiae of design projects.

However…

[Part 2 will be tomorrow.]

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No Horses. No History. Just Happiness Courtesy Of The Blue Sky Above.

When it’s a glorious day outside and it comes to finding something to photograph, I’m nothing if not persistent.

•  PLAN A: HORSES  I drove to the horse vet wanting to photograph the horses that are usually standing around in his fields. However, when I got there not one horse was anywhere to be seen, so I kept driving.

•  PLAN B: HISTORY  I drove to a tiny 200-year-old village that, when photographed while standing on its bridge over the river, would make for an interesting photo.  However, when I got there the river was high, the sidewalks were muddy, and the wind was gusting.  Standing on the bridge didn’t seem safe to me, so I decided to go someplace else.

•  PLAN C: HAPPINESS  Dreamed up on the fly, I decided to drive to the canoe rental place and walk the bike path that runs by the canoe rental place, using the opportunity to photograph the blue sky above and whatever might be underneath it.  As the following four photos show, this plan worked.

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What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

Meandering Thoughts About Reading Books & The Nature Of Failure

WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL IF I COULD tell you that I succeeded in doing Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 reading challenge?  The one I talked about here.

And wouldn’t it be equally wonderful if I were to write brief reviews of the 12 books I read, as I planned to do last January, vis-à-vis this annual challenge?

WELL, I DIDN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS that I thought I would because I got caught up in reading about politics online and in the newspapers, as one does when “fascism,” Merriam-Webster’s presumed word of the year, is knocking on the door.

So yes, I HAVE FAILED in my stated goal. But in the whole scheme of things I AM BETTER INFORMED about what matters now. So have I failed, or have I adapted?  

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AND IT’S NOT LIKE I DIDN’T READ any books at all, meaning that I can still share with you, my gentle readers, a few books, written by new-to-me authors, whose thoughts and style made for interesting reading.

Thus, without further ado, moving beyond the foregoing flapdoodle and twaddle, what I want to tell you is: here are three books I read in 2016 and enjoyed.

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#1

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This is a story about identity, the shifting nature of it, and the implications of learning someone is not who they say they are.  The story moves seamlessly among three different eras: present day England, 1960s England, and WWII London.  I found the characters compelling, the plot fascinating, and the settings atmospheric.

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#2

Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge

This is a story, that is more charming than it sounds on the surface, about a rich older woman with Alzheimer’s who lives in a small town.  One day she decides to sell her stuff and the town goes bonkers as she unloads her possessions, each of which has a story of its own to tell.  There is drama and familial tension, of course, but the real subject of this novel is: do we own our stuff or does it own us?

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#3

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

This is a delightful memoir that I couldn’t put down.  In it the author, a lawyer practicing in DC, talks candidly and hilariously about her experiences as a temporary receptionist for her father’s medical practice in rural Tennessee.  She does this to help her family through a difficult time, spending a year working for her father, and in the process learns about true heroes, batshit crazy small town people, and what is important in life.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Have you, like me, failed to read all the books that you thought you would read this year? If so, how do you feel about it? If not, please tell us how you accomplished your reading goals. No doubt we all could benefit from your wisdom.

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I Am Clumsy But With My Priorities In The Right Place

I fell on my face at Goodwill. Literally.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, I parked in front of the donation door at our local Goodwill.  I started pulling items out of the trunk of my car, and was carrying two folding chairs, one in each hand, when I tripped over a 3″ high little curb painted a jazzy shade of yellow.

And with that I face-planted myself on the cement sidewalk.

Save for a small scratch on the little finger side of my left hand & a scrape on the top of my right ankle, I didn’t hurt myself.  I went down too quickly to even tense up, plus I’m somewhat plump in my older years which helped keep me safe.

I kind of bounced more than I splatted.

I’ll admit that it was a fascinating experience to calmly realize that I was falling face down onto the sidewalk with no way to stop myself.  No one near me to catch me.

Just me on my own, falling down. Unceremoniously.

And what was going through my addled brain as this was happening?  Well, to be honest, and you wouldn’t want me to be anything but that, I was thinking: “Hmmm… well at least this will make for a good story.”

Yep, no need to worry about me, my gentle readers, I have my priorities in order.

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{ via Giphy}

 

Hobbling, But Happy: An Early October Walk In The Park

We’ve yet to see any fall color here, but on Sunday the sky was clear blue.

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Zen-Den and I decided to go to a city park for a mosey.

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It seemed like a sensible thing to do.

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You see, Zen-Den, who sprained his ankle a few weekends ago, was just getting back to walking without a crutch.

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And I had twisted my knee while mowing the yard on Saturday morning, meaning I was moving slowly, too.

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So, not wanting to let a glorious day go to waste, we hit upon the idea of going to a nice flat park.

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Where we hobbled ourselves around, park bench to park bench, taking photos and laughing about how we’ve somehow morphed into old people.

Disliked While Waiting In The Doctor’s Office

I dunno. This is a weird one…

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LATE LAST WEEK I WAS sitting in my PCP’s waiting room.  I was there for my annual check-up.

I had on my basic summer look: v-neck short sleeve t-shirt, bermuda shorts, leather sandals.  Curly hair pulled back with two barrettes. Hoop earrings. Recent pedicure. Nice purse. Rimless glasses.

And I was reading a book, a mystery.

Another patient, a conservatively dressed 40-something woman, checked-in at the reception desk, then walked by me to sit directly across from me.

As she went by I moved my feet under my seat so that she wouldn’t trip.  This movement, which people generally acknowledge with a tip of their head or a thank you, earned me a glare.

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BUT IT DIDN’T END THERE.

After this woman, who had long straight hair and was wearing a long skirt, long-sleeved cotton blouse buttoned up to her neck and ballet flats got settled into her seat, she continued to glare at me, looking me up and down.

I began to wonder what she was seeing when she looked at me:

  • A wanton harlot with bright red toenail polish?
  • A stoned hippy wearing Birkenstocks?
  • A liberal feminist reading, of all things, a novel? 

I smiled back at her, as polite people do, then went back to reading my book.

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SHORTLY THEREAFTER HER NAME WAS called, and because of the waiting room chair configuration, she had to walk by me again.

This time she glared + snorted derisively as she walked by me;  she needed for me to know that she didn’t approve of me.

For some reason. Nonspecific.

[Another patient across the way, a woman dressed about like I was, rolled her eyes and grinned at me as it happened.]

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NOW OBVIOUSLY I’M NOT LOOKING for validation from strangers who I encounter in my daily life, but the fact that something about me really irritated this conservative woman fascinated me.

And truth be told, I was equally fascinated by the fact that I rather enjoyed the sense of power it gave me over her.

I mean, if I can bother someone by merely existing in their view, imagine what I can do when I decide to speak.  😉

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Question of the Day: 

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a stranger’s hateful stare for reasons you could not figure out? And if so, how did it make you feel?  

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